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New Earth Launches Online Tool to Analyze Supply Chain Social Conditions

Non-profit New Earth has released a new online portal to help supply chain stakeholders to better manage social responsibility issues and create incentives to collaborate and drive progress.

The Social Hotspots Database (SHDB) is an interactive online tool that employs “Tableau” software to offer transparent information about social risks and opportunities in 227 countries and 57 sectors. The product of several years of research, the SHDB draws from hundreds of data sources provided by the International Labor Organization, the World Health Organization, the U.S. Department of Labor and State, the World Bank and more.

The tool uses country- and sector-based quantitative statistics and qualitative information to develop characterization models that assign a risk or opportunity level to the data so that users can identify target areas in their supply chains to verify or improve social conditions.

New Earth says the portal's three main capabilities are to provide a global visualization of sector-specific risk for particular social issues of interest; a bar chart indicating multiple risks for country-distinct sectors in a supply chain; and a comparison of country-specific sectors in a supply chain using the Social Hotspot Index, which aggregates risks for better decision-making.

The non-profit says it built the resource because most existing tools focus on supply chains’ environmental impacts rather than effects on workers, communities and society as a whole. The tools that are available often do not extend beyond the enterprise level to take into account all supply chain actors, making it difficult to discern what happens beyond the initial tier of direct suppliers.

SHDB is intended to help corporate directors, investors, product designers, supply chain managers, policymakers, academic researchers and international organizations. While paid licenses are available to use the SHDB Lifecycle Assessment programs, the Web Portal is accessible to the public free of charge.

Last year, a Green Research study found that a lack of data standards and concerns about data reliability have hindered supply chain sustainability progress. Sixty-two percent of executives surveyed for the study said their efforts to track supply chain sustainability performance are impaired by a lack of measurement standards.


Based in San Francisco, Mike Hower is a writer, thinker and strategic communicator who revels in helping drive the conversation at the intersection of sustainable business and public policy. He studied Political Science and History at the University of California,… [Read more about Mike Hower]


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